This report aims to assess historical fisheries in the Caribbean Netherlands since the first inhabitants started exploiting the sea around them. In doing so, WWF-The Netherlands seeks to understand how fisheries and fishing traditions have influenced the marine ecosystem in the past, and hence what this ecosystem may have looked like before the start of marine resource exploitation. We hope that this will provide a more realistic view of the variations and impacts on baseline perspectives, and thus more effective targets to aim for in policies and plans for the future.
World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF-NL)
The World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF-NL), STINAPA, Sea Turtle Conservation Bonaire, The Caribbean Speleological Society, and the Dutch Caribbean Nature Alliance are deeply concerned about the plans of the Dutch government for a new crude oil terminal in the Willem Alexander marine reserve. Building a pier in the marine reserve will irreparably damage one of the healthiest coral reefs on Bonaire. The House of Representatives in the Netherlands will decide on the new plans next week.
The Dutch government and Bonaire are looking for solutions to ensure electricity supply on the island. However, a structural solution for the energy supply must also be a sustainable solution. According to the organisations, solar and wind energy should be the main focus for the future.
Nurseries for nature
The coral reefs host extraordinary animals such as sea turtles and sharks. All kinds of fish grow up among the coral reefs. The sea around Bonaire is one of the oldest marine protected areas in the world. As a result, the coral reefs are still in relatively good condition. But there are still concerns. Pollution and disruption by human activities and the impact of climate change endanger the survival of coral reefs.
Renewable energy and research into alternatives
In the Nature and Environmental Policy Plan for the Caribbean Netherlands (NMBP-CN) 2020-2030, Bonaire has stated that pressures on the coral reefs must be reduced to ensure that the current coral reefs can recover. STINAPA and WWF-NL want natural values to be taken into account in new infrastructural developments, regardless of any additional costs. Various alternatives are possible to secure the fuel supply of Bonaire.
Together, the organizations are calling on the Dutch government to reconsider the location of the current plans and to give priority to the use of existing infrastructure. In addition, we ask to invest more in a sustainable energy supply for the island.
Plans strongly contradict promised protection
The plans are in stark contrast to the promised protection of the coral reefs. In 2019, State Secretaries Raymond Knops and Tamara van Ark adopted a piece of coral reef. In April 2020, Minister Carola Schouten allocated more than 7 million euros to protect the coral reefs in the Caribbean. In October 2020, Prime minister Rutte even added his pennies worth at the biodiversity summit of the United Nations. “We are working to protect the coral reefs that are so important to biodiversity,” he said at the time.
Article published in BioNews 42